Building positive relationships in any situation takes patience, empathy, and is just over all hard work. Building a positive relationship with someone you do not know, nor spend a considerable amount of time with makes it that much more difficult. But, building a positive relationship with your child’s teacher and school has such a profound impact on a student’s learning it is worth the time and effort it takes to foster these relationships.
Before the school year starts use that time to introduce yourself and your child at a back to school night or if this is not available communicate through a phone call or email. Teachers are appreciative of receiving background knowledge on a student, especially from a parent. Let a teacher know something about your child. Your child may really enjoy math, or should be wearing their glasses every day, or like my parents back when I was a student request your child to be placed up front, because they are distracted easily. Let the teacher know that you are desirous of seeing your child succeed and would like to be helpful in anyway. When a teacher and its school have already established a relationship it makes it a little easier to communicate when a difficult situation comes along like discipline or academic difficulty.
Parents are valuable teachers also, so let your child’s teacher know your skill sets and what you might be able to help with. What a positive experience for a student to have a parent who is an engineer demonstrate the physics concept of torque in a real life setting, or have an ASE certified mechanic assist students with the timing on a 350 small block. Volunteerism more than helps the school/teacher with day to day tasks. It shows your child how much you care about their learning and that an education is not just the child’s responsibility, but everyone who is involved in that child’s life. Encouraging your child to get involved in school activities (sports, music, theatre, art, academic teams and etc.), brings the family and school together being a part of a positive experience outside of the classroom.
When a student comes home excited about a grade or appreciative of the help they received from a teacher/faculty member take the time to call or email the person and let them know it made a difference in your child’s life and that they are communicating this at home. Conversely, when a student comes home and they have a concern that you feel needs to be shared with a teacher or an administrator, take the time to do so, while no one likes bad news many times the concern has a positive outcome.
Portage Township Schools values the positive relationships that are built with each student and their parents. This relationship truly demonstrates to the student that receiving a quality education not only comes from the classroom, but from all aspects of life, especially home.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.